We are pleased to spotlight our latest Marfa Muse, Interior Designer Sophie Ashby.
Sophie Ashby is the Founder and Creative Director of Studio Ashby, an Interior Architecture and Design service, as well as homeware company Sister by Studio Ashby. Alongside this, Sophie proudly co-founded diversity initiative United in Design to address the lack of diversity in the UK Interior Design industry.
Sophie is 5ft 10 and wears size L in The Signature Reversible Quilt in pale sage/pale yellow, Shearling Collar in buttermilk and Shearling Liner in natural white.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
I studied History of Art at Leeds University and Interior Design at Parsons in New York before setting up Studio Ashby in 2014. Studio Ashby provides interior design services, we mostly work with private clients all over the world on their homes with the occasional commercial project like hotels and restaurants too. I set up a homeware company last year called Sister and I’m also the co-founder of a charity called United in Design, created to remedy the lack of diversity in my industry.
WHAT LED YOU TO WORKING IN INTERIORS?
As is the case with so many interior designers, I moved a lot growing up... With a South African mother and a British father, my childhood was split between London, Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Devon with 14 or so moves. I guess I am (and always have been) fascinated by the idea of ‘home’ and what it means to people, and that definitely originated in childhood – arranging my bedroom furniture as a kid, making my bed and putting my posters up, transforming a new and unfamiliar space into a sanctuary – a home. I decided I wanted to become an interior designer at such a young age as I had become so invested in the importance of a home for a person and how life, for me anyway, feels much better when you have that connection to the place that you live and then venture out into the world from there...
TALK US THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR
I feel really lucky with the journey I’ve had. Studio Ashby was born the day I got my first private client & within a couple of weeks, one client became three and things have continued to grow steadily from there... I started my business from a laptop, with no savings or investment, working from cafes – we are now a team of fourteen with a studio in Notting Hill.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Co-founding diversity initiative United in Design with my dear friend Alex Dauley last year has been, by far and away, the most rewarding, invigorating and meaningful experience of my career so far. The charity was created to address the lack of diversity in the UK Interior Design industry - specifically, the lack of representation from the black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT GETTING INTO SIMILAR ROLES?
Work on yourself, be pragmatic, always allow yourself to take a step back from a situation to gain perspective – and (as my mum would say) go girl!
HOW DO YOU STYLE YOUR MARFA STANCE PIECE?
It’s a wonderfully effortless and versatile piece. I mostly live in jeans and knits in the winter with boots or trainers so that’s how I’ll be layering the pieces in with my wardrobe. I love the shearling liner and will probably just wear that on it’s own too over a lighter jumper when it’s not too coldPhotographer Credit: Zac Frackelton